“It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.” – John Steinbeck
As the Gone With The Dogs troupe passed through central Oregon in April (remember here) we spent time at Fort Motsko with friends Mark and Phyllis.
At that time Mark invited me to tag along while he fly fished the middle Deschutes river near Warm Springs.
The fishing was slow but the scenery was magnificent. For two days I photographed him trying to catch fish and the dramatic countryside.
It wasn’t quite spring yet as the hills were still brown and the trout were less then cooperative so my footage left something to be desired.
Then in May my good friend Brad Ebel was traveling south to Oregon to join Mark for the “big event”, the stonefly hatch.
Fly fishermen come from around the world the last two weeks in May through the first two weeks in June to take advantage of this hatch.
I decided to tag along and capture these two avid fisherman enjoying their favorite pastime.
I am not a fisherman, never have been. I can’t find the patience to wait for a fish to bite the bait. I will fish when I am hungry but otherwise it does not keep my interest, I would rather be climbing the hillside.
But after spending 5 days following Mark and Brad up and down the Deschutes, watching them cast hundreds of times and catching some nice fat trout, I now have a somewhat better understanding of this very old and traditional sport.
What I learned is that fly fishing is more about the overall aesthetic and the varying parts that come together to create the whole experience.
While fly fishing necessarily points towards the fish as the end goal, this is often not really the true focus.
I appreciate the intense devotion fly fisherman have for their sport but I must say the idea of catching and releasing a perfectly good trout will always be somewhat of a mystery to me.
Following two fisherman around for several days to try and capture the exact moment the fish strikes can be a very monotonous or exciting activity for the photographer.
How long one waits in the standby mode directly corresponds with how the fish are biting and off course being in the right place at the right time.
There is no doubt Oregon’s Deschutes River meets all criteria of a world class scenic watershed.
It originates high in the eastern Cascades and flows 252 miles to the Columbia River producing an outstanding fishery of native rainbow trout and steelhead.
From my viewpoint the best reason to go fishing is to get away from it all and enjoy the magnificent scenery and topography that a trout stream typically flows through.
For days the three of us wandered the banks of the Deschutes from near its headwaters all the way down to Trout Creek. We fished the Foley Waters and hiked down to the beautiful Steelhead Falls.
We talked endlessly of fishing and fly tying techniques, drank the best IPA’s central Oregon has to offer and spent time BBQing and relaxing at Fort Motsko with Phyllis.
It was truly an honor and a pleasure to fish with Mark and Brad, an experience I will not soon forget or soon repeat!
The video below captures a few moments from our recent adventure. Be sure to watch it in HD as some of the footage was shot in 4K.
In case you missed a video I produced last summer of Brad Ebel Fishing in Alaska I have included it below.
Keep you posted!
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt” John Muir